Moscow has accused Ukraine of abducting two of servicemen from Russia’s Republic of Crimea.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the servicemen were “illegally detained” on November 20 and taken from Crimea to Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region. Moscow called the incident “another act of gross provocation” and called for their “immediate return”.
Ukraine argues the detained men – Ensign Maxim Evgenyevich Oditsov and Junior Sergeant Alexander Vyacheslavovich Baranov – are deserters, who defected to Russia from the Ukrainian military in 2014. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) added that the pair were apprehended after crossing into Ukrainian-controlled territory.
Considering the wide media coverage of incident, Rusisa’s leadership is pushed to search some diplomatic (or other) way how to return the servicemen back home.
Earlier in November, a number of men were arrested in Crimea and accused of plotting acts of sabotage against military objects in the peninsula. Several men were shown on Russian TV confessing to the claims and confirming their links to Ukrainian special services. Kiev has rejected the accusations.
This analysis was released by SouthFront in August 2016: